In this blog post, you will learn how to increase stitches in knitting.
Learning how to add stitches at the beginning, the end, or the middle of your row is a great skill to have for any knitter.
It might be a little bit of a challenge if you are just starting out, but it’s not common in basic knitting patterns, and after a bit of practice, you will be a pro in no time.
Why Do I Add A Stitch When Knitting?
You may need to add a stitch in knitting for various reasons.
Here are some common situations where you might need to add a stitch:
- Increasing the size of your project: If you want to make your project wider or longer, you will need to add stitches. For example, you might add stitches when shaping the neckline of a sweater or increasing the width of a scarf.
- Shaping: Adding a stitch can help you create a particular shape in your knitting projects. For example, you might add stitches at the sides of a shawl to create a triangular shape.
- Pattern instructions: Your pattern may instruct you to add stitches at certain points in your work. This could be to create a decorative design (the stitch pattern) or to change the shape of the garment.
- Fixing a mistake: If you realize that you have dropped a stitch or made an error in your knitting, adding a stitch can help you fix the mistake and keep your work looking neat and tidy.
Overall, adding a stitch in knitting is a useful technique that can help you achieve the desired shape and size in your project or correct mistakes in your work.
How Do I Add A Stitch In Knitting?
There are several ways to add a stitch in knitting, and the method you choose will depend on the effect you want to achieve.
Here are some common methods:
1. Make One (M1) Bar Increase
- This method is a bar increase – it involves lifting the bar between two stitches and knitting it into the back of it to create a new stitch.
- This method creates a nearly invisible increase and is great for adding stitches in the middle of a row.
- It’s also the most invisible method to add an extra stitch to your knit fabric.
- Left-leaning increases and right-leaning increases are used in knitting patterns to create a balanced and symmetrical look in the fabric.
- When you are working on a project that involves shaping or creating a pattern, it is important to have both types of increases to achieve the desired effect.
- A left-leaning increase: M1L is created by lifting the bar (a horizontal strand of yarn) between two stitches from front to back, then knitting through the back loop (With your left hand needle). This creates a stitch that leans to the left and is often used on the left side of a project. View a video tutorial here.
- A right-leaning increase: M1R is created by lifting the bar (a horizontal strand of yarn) between two stitches from back to front, then knitting through the front loop (With your right hand needle). This creates a stitch that leans to the right and is often used on the right side of a project. View a video tutorial here.
- By using both left-leaning and right-leaning M1 increases, you can create a symmetrical and balanced fabric that looks neat and professional.
- For example, in this chunky oversized cardigan pattern, we can see the M1 method used in the collar of the cardigan. Adding stitches on the collar to give the draped effect over the clavicle.
- In this fair isle mittens pattern, we can see the M1 increase stitch throughout the pattern. It’s used to add stitches and shape the thumbs of the mittens and on the cuff of the pattern.
- How to M1 – View A Video Tutorial Here.
2. Knit Front Back (KFB)
- This method involves knitting into the front of a stitch, then without sliding it off the left needle, knitting into the back of the same stitch.
- This creates a new stitch and a small bump on the fabric similar to the ones left by purl stitches.
- This method is commonly used for increasing at the beginning of a row or end of a row.
- For example, we can see the KFB increase in this easy scarf knitting pattern.
- You use this knitting increase method throughout the pattern to shape it, adding stitches to the beginning and the end of rows and using the knit stitch between the increases.
- This pattern is the perfect project for beginners to practice their KFB skills.
- Or, in this oversized chunky sweater, we can see this increase method being used for sleeve shaping in the pattern.
- By adding stitches, you will widen the sleeves and give them the oversized fit you want.
- View A Video Tutorial Here.
3. Yarn Over (YO)
- The yarnover method involves wrapping the working yarn around the needle before or after knitting a stitch.
- When you come to the yarn over on the next row, you can knit or purl it as if it were a regular stitch.
- This method creates an eyelet (decorative hole) in the fabric and is commonly used in lace patterns.
- The yarnover method might be the easiest way for new knitters to make increases, but it certainly is not the most invisible.
- It can be perfect for a particular project where you don’t mind the small hole it leaves behind, and it can certainly add character to a knitted piece (you can see this in lace knitting), but it’s not ideal for patterns like sweaters.
- For example, you can see the yarn over increases in the Carolina shawl knitting pattern running parallel vertically in the middle of the shawl.
- Or you can see the yarnovers in the corner-to-corner baby blanket pattern, running along the border of the blanket, creating a beautiful design.
- View A Video Tutorial Here.
4. Lifted Increase
Lifted Increase (RLI and LLI).
These increases are nearly invisible because they create a new stitch without leaving a noticeable hole or bump in your knitting.
- LLI (A left lifted increase): With the left-hand needle, lift the strand between the stitch you just knitted on the previous row and the next stitch from the front, then knit into the back of the lifted strand. View A Video Tutorial Here.
- RLI (A right lifted increase): With the left-hand needle, lift the strand between the stitch you just knitted and the next stitch from the back, then knit into the front of the lifted strand into the right loop only. View A Video Tutorial Here.
These are just a few examples of the many ways to add a stitch in knitting.
The method you choose will depend on your pattern and the effect you want to achieve.
What Is The Neatest Way To Increase Stitches In Knitting?
If you are working on a pattern like a sweater or shawl and you don’t want to leave obvious marks of the number of stitches you added, the M1 method is your best choice.
Your added stitches will be invisible in the rows of knitting even before you block your project.
Can You Substitute One Method For The Other?
In some cases, you may be able to substitute one method of adding a stitch for another without affecting the overall look of the fabric.
For example, if a pattern calls for KFB but you prefer M1, you can substitute M1 instead, and the fabric will still increase in the same way.
However, it is important to keep in mind that changing the method of adding a stitch can affect the gauge and tension of your knitting, so it’s always a good idea to swatch and test your new method before making any major changes to a pattern.
What Do I Do, If A Pattern Doesn’t Specify Which One Of The Increase Methods I Need To Use?
If a knitting pattern does not specify a particular increase method, you can choose the method that you prefer, or that is best suited to the type of project you are working on.
Each method creates a slightly different look in the fabric, so it’s worth considering which method will work best for your project.
For example, if you are knitting a lace shawl, a great option is the yarn overs method to create decorative holes in the lace.
On the other hand, if you are working on a sweater or other garment that needs to be more sturdy and less lacy, you might prefer to use one of the other most common increases, such as M1 or KFB.
Ultimately, the choice of increase method will depend on your personal preference and the type of project you are working on.
If you are unsure which method to use, you can experiment with different methods on a swatch of your project to see which one you like best.
For more informative posts and video tutorials about knitting techniques and knitting stitches, check out the knitting lessons!
If you want to learn how to decrease stitches, check out this post here.